by David Crane
The hypertext link supplied for downloading and viewing the Ultimax 100 LMG/SAW video clip is located towards the bottom of this article, so you will need to scroll down to find it. However, we recommend that you read the following article first, so you can better appreciate what you’re watching (when you watch the video).
The 5.56x45mm Ultimax 100 LMG/SAW (Light Machine Gun/Squad Automatic Weapon) was originally designed and developed (along with its 100-shot drum magazine) from scratch in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s by Jim Sullivan (L. James Sullivan) and his design/development partner Bob Waterfield for then Chartered Industries of Singapore, a.k.a. CIS (now Singapore Technologies Kinetics Land Systems, a.k.a. ST Kinetics Land Systems). It is considered by many small arms experts to be the best 5.56mm light machine gun/squad automatic weapon (LMG/SAW) in the history of the world. DefenseReview has been writing about the Ultimax 100 LMG/SAW virtually since our inception. And, in the last year or so, we’ve discussed the Ultimax quite a bit. In our article on Noveske Rifleworks Weapons packages, we discussed not only what’s important about he Ultimax, but also how and why it’s superior to the U.S. Army’s current light machine gun/squad automatic weapon (LMG/SAW), the problematic/subpar FN M249 SAW. We also mentoned the Ultimax 100 SAW in two of our articles on the Auto-Assault-12 Shotgun (AA-12 Shotgun): our first-ever blurb on the AA-12, and our more extensive article on the AA-12 and FRAG-12 12-gauge armor-piercing grenade family, published subsequently.
Ultimax 100 MK4 LMG/SAW (5.56mm). One of these modifications is a 4179 STANAG AR-15/M16 magazine adapter that allows the Ultimax MK4 to accept both 30-round AR-15/M16 mags and 100-shot Beta C-MAGs.
So, how does Constant-Recoil actually work? In a sentence, it spreads the weapon’s recoil impulse out over time. So, instead of the shooter receiving a sudden jolt to his shoulder, he receives a slow, constant push. The Ultimax utilizes a relatively long receiver length to accomplish this. The long receiver combined with recoil spring weight keeps the bolt carrier group from impacting the rear of the receiver when the weapon is fired. It’s this impact that normally transfers most of the recoil impulse to the shooter, especially since it happens so quickly (over a very short period of time). In contrast, when the Ultimax is fired, the bolt carrier group runs out on the recoil spring, never making contact with the rear of the receiver. Then, as the bolt carrier group runs back forward, it impacts the barrel extension, knocking the weapon forward and causing the muzzle to dip, whereupon the next round is fired (We’re firing on full-auto, remember?). So, as the weapon goes into recoil again, it has to overcome the weapon’s forward momentum, as well as the barrel’s downward movement, so half of the weapon’s recoil forces are spent fighting against this forward movement, and then the bolt carrier group has to make the long trek towards the rear of the receiver, again. This whole process spreads the recoil force on the operator out over a greater period of time, making the weapon feel like its steadily pushing on the operator, instead of pounding against him. So, the weapon just sits there, staying on target during full-auto fire, even though it weighs so little.
The box-magazine/drum-magazine/double-drum magazine-fed Ultimax 100 MK4 is also much faster and easier to reload in a fight than the M249 SAW, especially in a dynamic, fluid situation like a running gun battle/firefight while the infantryman is firing on-the-move. In this situation, it’s nice to be able to reload quickly and relatively easily on the move as well, which the Ultimax allows an operator to do. You can reload the Ultimax on the move in a few seconds. Try that with an M249. Good luck to you.
The Ultimax can be reloaded as quickly and easily as an assault rifle, since it’s magazine-fed, rather than belt-fed. As it happens, the Ultimax 100 series is also significantly more reliable under adverse/combat conditions and high-round-count than the FN M249.